Whether you’re trying to lose weight or simply eat healthier, there’s no shortage of diets to choose from.

At Healthline, our mission is to cut through the noise and help you find a way of eating that’s nutritionally sound, realistic for your lifestyle, and designed to set you up for long-term success.

To do this, our Brand and Content Integrity team vets the diets, and registered dietitians extensively review and score them.

Using evidence-based criteria, our diet scorecard highlights the key benefits and drawbacks of each diet to help you make a more informed decision.

Keep reading to learn more about how we review diets at Healthline.

What is a ‘diet’?

At Healthline, we use the term “diet” to refer to two main categories:

  • Lifestyle diets: These are eating patterns that follow specific nutritional guidelines. Examples include the Mediterranean diet, plant-based diet, and keto diet.
  • Commercial diet programs: These are diet plans that require a membership or subscription to join. These programs typically provide more structured guidelines than lifestyle diets and are often designed to support weight loss. They typically include additional features, like personal coaching and app-based educational materials. Examples include Noom and WeightWatchers.

Registered dietitians and our editorial staff review all the diets featured in our content. However, because lifestyle diets are general eating patterns and not official products or services, our Brand and Content Integrity team does not evaluate them.

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All brands and products featured on Healthline must pass our rigorous vetting process.

During vetting, we evaluate commercial diets based on their:

  • medical credibility
  • business standards
  • marketing claims
  • overall approach to well-being

While we never recommend diets that fail vetting, we may still cover them in our content. In these cases, we make it clear that the program failed our vetting process and explain why.

Registered dietitians review and score the diets featured on Healthline, including both lifestyle and commercial diets.

Our diet score is an evidence-based tool designed to evaluate diets across five main categories:

  • Weight loss: Has the diet been shown to be effective for short-term (1 week to 1 month) or long-term (3 to 6 months and beyond) weight loss?
  • Adherence: How easy is the diet to follow? Is it something you could realistically follow long term? And is there support or other tools to encourage lasting behavior change?
  • Whole body health: Does the diet address other aspects of health, such as sleep or physical activity? Does the diet promote an overall healthy relationship with food? Are the goals realistic?
  • Nutrition quality: Is the diet designed to be nutritionally balanced? Does it encourage eating mostly whole foods? Or does it rely on supplements and powders to provide essential nutrients?
  • Health promotion: Does this diet or eating pattern have evidence to suggest that it may help manage or reduce the risk of chronic conditions, like diabetes, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s disease?

Each category receives its own score, ranging from 0 to 5, with 0 being the lowest score and 5 being the highest. Having a breakdown by category allows you to see the strengths (and weaknesses) of each diet to better understand which option best fits your needs and goals.

We then average these scores to provide a total score for the diet.

At Healthline, we know that there isn’t one “best” diet for everyone. Instead, our goal is to highlight diets that are evidence-based and offer a safe, realistic approach to wellness.

Our team of registered dietitians carefully reviews each diet and its scores to determine whom it might be best for.

While we understand that some people may be looking for short-term weight loss, we don’t endorse detox programs, crash diets, or weight loss plans that promote long-term extreme calorie restriction.

Similarly, we don’t recommend diets that rely heavily on supplements to meet nutritional needs. Instead, we prioritize plans and eating patterns that encourage eating mostly whole foods from all the food groups.

The following experts shaped our diet scoring methodology.

Lisa Valente, MS, RD

Lisa Valente is a registered dietitian with over a decade of editorial experience working with health and nutrition content.

She loves breaking down complex science and health information, making it easier for people to understand while still maintaining the accuracy and integrity of the content.

Valente holds a master of science in nutrition communications from the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University. She completed her dietetic internship at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Kelli McGrane, MS, RD

Kelli McGrane is a registered dietitian, cookbook author, and a nutrition commerce editor at Healthline. She is on a mission to prove that eating healthier doesn’t have to be complicated or restrictive.

McGrane obtained her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nutritional science from Boston University. Before starting at Healthline, Kelli worked as a clinical dietitian at two Boston hospitals, as a nutrition researcher for the University of Colorado and Children’s Hospital, and as a freelance writer and editor for several online publications.

You can find her work in numerous media outlets, including CNN, The Washington Post, USA Today, Women’s Health, HuffPost, and more.

Brooke Mathe, MS, CSCS

Brooke Mathe has a passion for educating and motivating within the wellness space.

She brings years of experience in health education, fitness, medical weight management, and wellness programming to her role with the Medical Integrity team to ensure the accuracy and integrity of nutrition and fitness content at Healthline.

Brooke holds a master of science in exercise science and is a certified strength and conditioning specialist.

At Healthline, we understand how important nutrition is to overall health. A well-balanced, nutritious diet can help reduce the risk of some chronic conditions and give you energy to enjoy your favorite activities.

When researching diets on Healthline, we want you to feel confident that our scores and reviews are backed by evidence and nutritional expertise.

While we can’t tell you which diet to choose, we hope that through our comprehensive reviews, you’ll feel better informed about your options and confident discussing these options with a registered dietitian or other healthcare professional.